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Loo seat cycle coast to coast aims to raise funds for Toilet Twinning

Three York men are about to make a splash for a quirky campaign to twin city toilets with loos in the poorest countries – by cycling coast to coast with a loo seat in tow ...

Three York men are about to make a splash for a quirky campaign to twin city toilets with loos in the poorest countries – by cycling coast to coast with a loo seat in tow.

Simon Jones, Tim Kelly and Phil Bodmer are undertaking the 140-mile Coast to Coast ride on Thursday (5 June) in support of Toilet Twinning, which raises funds to provide vital sanitation in some of the poorest places on earth.

Simon also wants to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis by lobbying the government to do more to tackle the problem – by gathering petition signatures on a toilet seat attached to his bike. He’ll also be wearing a special toilet-themed jersey during their three-day cycling marathon (June 5–7).

Simon is a youth worker for Clifton Parish Churches; Tim is Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York. Phil, who is fundraising for both Toilet Twinning and the MS Society, is a presenter on the BBC’s Look North.

"The lack of sanitation worldwide is absolutely horrific and it’s wrong that we live in a world where so many children don’t have somewhere safe and clean to go to the loo," says Simon. "I'm 34 and I've never trained for a physical exercise challenge in my life. That's also not on.

"Doing the cycle ride with sanitation in mind will spur me on. I first came across Toilet Twinning through things like Portaloo posters at festivals and friends of ours have got their own toilet twin too. It’s an easy thing to plug in to."

Simon and Tim have already enthused a youth group they both lead to engage with the issue. Among other things, JAM held a sponsored sleepover where young people braved the discomfort of sleeping on cardboard boxes and not having their phones and gadgets. Together, JAM raised enough to twin four of their church toilets.

Tim says: "It was a cause that we could see the young people get behind and that’s encouraged us to do something about it ourselves too." He, Simon and Phil will be joined on the Coast to Coast with several other friends from their church.

Toilet Twinning CEO Lorraine Kingsley says: "About 2.5 billion people don’t have somewhere safe, clean and hygienic to go to the loo – and that stinks. We’re so grateful for people like Simon, Tim and Phil who are raising money and awareness to help change this appalling situation. Their ride is timely too as world leaders consider which development issues to prioritise after the Millennium Development Goals expire next year. We believe that access to sanitation, water and hygiene is the key to tackling poverty."
 
Toilet Twinning is a partnership between development charities Cord and Tearfund. Its aim is to improve sanitation globally by providing working toilets, clean water and basic hygiene education. The recent rape and murder of two teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh, India, has been widely linked to their lack of access to a latrine.

For each £60 raised for Toilet Twinning, Simon, Tim and Phil will award a certificate with a photo of the twinned latrine (and its GPS coordinates) to beneficiary toilets of their choosing.
 
To sponsor Simon and Tim, go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/jonessimon and http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/timpkelly

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